Police apologize to two black men arrested at Starbucks

The day after their arrests, they thought about what to do next.

The arrests, which were captured on cell phone video, sparked demonstrations inside and outside the Starbucks, which is located on swanky Rittenhouse Square, and more national and worldwide conversations over social media about the state of race in the era of President Donald Trump.

After they were put in a squad auto, Nelson and Robinson were taken to the police station and later freed. The men claim that they weren't questioned about whether or not there was an issue, and that they weren't read their rights. It happens when minority customers are treated differently than white customers through a variety of indignities and slights, such as being refused service, falsely accused of shoplifting or reported to security or police over something mundane.

Commissioner Richard Ross, who is black, had previously staunchly defended police for their handling of the incident.

Last weekend Ross had said in a video statement "these officers did absolutely nothing wrong" and they were legally obligated to respond to Starbucks' report that the men were trespassing.

As a result, Starbucks had to do more in response than the average company. It's a phenomenon not limited by race, age, or gender, affecting even billionaire Oprah Winfrey - turned away at a Paris Hermes shop in 2003 - and former President Barack Obama, who spoke from the White House in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal in 2013 about his experiences as a younger man of being followed in stores and doors locking as he passed by. The Black man was not given the same code. Instead, it felt routine.

"I think Starbucks is sending a strong message in doing this", said Jeff Dickerson, a crisis communications adviser in Atlanta. "They can not be redeemed in our stores". A study previous year by Case Western professor Cassi Pittman found that such practices require black shoppers to navigate being seen as a threat to avoid harassment, humiliation or harm.

"It totally shows those microaggressions that occur to all people, but particularly black males, that go unheard, that go unseen", he said.

One of the two African American men whose arrests last week in a Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia sparked cries of modern-day racism, protests and calls for a nationwide boycott, says anger and boycotts are not the solution.

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But I know my Ivy League degrees will not immunize me from a police officer's bullet. In Philadelphia, the exchange was marked not only with video proof, but by the indignation and attempted intervention of a pair of white bystanders. Recorded police shootings of unarmed black men in places like Ferguson, Baltimore and Charleston have had a similar dynamic.

Ross experienced said the officers "did nothing incorrect" in the incident.

Spokespersons for Seattle-based Starbucks did not disclose what was discussed between the two men, who were not identified. Speaking about Johnson's interview on CNN Tuesday night - the CEO appeared visibly shaken while speaking - Paul said "when I see a CEO with my buddy [host] Don Lemon being emotional, it feels like he was honest". "Starbucks just upped the game for everyone", said Carreen Winters, chief strategy officer for MWW Public Relations.

Robinson said that after Nelson got back to the table, the manager came over to their table to ask if she could help with any drinks or water.

"I want to make sure this situation doesn't happen again", Robinson said on GMA.

"We were there for a real reason, a real deal that we were working on", Robinson told the AP.

"You go from being someone who's just trying to be an entrepreneur, having your own dreams and aspirations, and then this happens", noted Nelson.

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